1.3 New listings/IPOs and M&As in 2018
2018 saw only 10 new listings (Table 2), including 6 IPOs (Acacia, MedinCell, Polyphor, AlzeCure, Asarina, Calliditas), 2 listings following an M&A/reverse takeover operation (Oncology Venture from MPI, Okyo from a Cash Shell) and 2 listings without a public offering (Combigene in Stockholm and ObsEva, listed in Switzerland after floating on Nasdaq first). The most active place was Sweden with 5 new listings, followed by Switzerland (2). There was a single event in France, UK and Belgium.
4 companies managed to list on Nasdaq in New York in 2018, of which 3 through an IPO process. The only significant amount raised was for Morphosys (Table 3).
On the M&A side (Table 4), it was a prolific year (from a European standpoint), with 5 companies who were acquired and subsequently de-listed: Tigenix (Belgium) acquired by Takeda, Ablynx (Belgium) acquired by Sanofi, Wilson Therapeutics (Sweden) acquired by Alexion, TxCell (France) acquired by Sangamo, and Vernalis (UK) by Ligand Pharmaceuticals. For the first 2 names, the takeovers came after a drug approval (Alofisel and Cablivi, respectively). For Wilson, the tender offer followed good data for WTX 101 now in a pivotal trial in Wilson disease. For the TxCell and Vernalis, it was different. Both companies were facing financial and/or business challenges, so they were opportunistically acquired by 2 US companies.
Finally, on a wider perimeter, concerning European listed “big pharma”/biopharma companies, Shire (Ireland) was acquired by Takeda for 52.5 bEUR (approximately 60% premium). Karo Pharma (Sweden) was acquired by a fund based in Luxembourg for 580 mEUR (premium about 25%). In 2017, Actelion (Switzerland - not covered) was acquired by Johnson & Johnson for 28.1 bEUR (premium around 77%). Also, in 2017, STADA Arzneimittel, a German pharma (not covered) was partially taken over by a consortium of funds. Another “tranche” of the company was furtherly acquired in 2018 and the company was de-listed early in 2019.